The Busch brothers fought door-to-door as Kurt finally fought off his younger brother Kyle to capture the checkered flag at the Quaker State 400 on July 13 at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. It was Kurt’s first win of the season and his first win at Kentucky.
Bubba Wallace’s spin-out on lap 261 of a scheduled 267 brought out the seventh caution flag of the race and set up the sibling rivalry of the final lap. While Kyle was able to jump cleanly into the lead on the restart, Kurt had to fight past Erik Jones before he had the opportunity to give chase.
It took all 1.5 miles of the final lap, but as the cars headed into the final stretch Kurt found room on the outside and slipped into the lead and held on for the narrowest victory in Kentucky Speedway history at .076 seconds. It was the first time in three career 1-2 battles that he had crossed the finish line ahead of his brother.
“You know, racing your little brother every week and watching him win a lot, I’m proud of him, but I’m proud of him he gave me a little bit of room on that outside,” Kurt said. “What an awesome run.”
Between the two, the brothers held the lead for a combined 113 laps, with Kyle leading a race high 72, and won both stages as Kurt held off Joey Logano to win stage one, and the younger Busch dominated stage two, at one point holding an 8.7 second lead, for the victory.
“I’m glad it was a thriller. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of the deal…,” Kyle said. “Obviously great to put on great races and great finishes. Been part of a lot of them, but none with my brother like that. So that was a first. No hard feelings.”
Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Mountain Dew DEWnited States car was responsible for the first of seven caution flags as a flat tire forced him to crawl around the track to pit row. Elliott re-entered the race one lap behind the pack but was awarded the free pass on the next caution a mere four laps later. A loose tire penalty quickly burst the team’s bubble, but the penalty was rescinded, and Elliott remained on the lead lap for the remainder of the race and went on to finish fifteenth.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire for the twentieth race of the season on the one-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on July 21.